Ten tips to a stress-free, enjoyable and productive holiday

Nov 23, 2016

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Retail Contrarian, the blog of the Dynamic Experiences Group

The holidays can be wonderful and, from time to time, a bit trying. Here’s a list of tips and actions anyone working retail can use for a reasonably stress-free, enjoyable and productive holiday.

  1. Have fun! Challenge a colleague to a sales contest, or who can have the most add-ons in the next hour. Have fun with customers — and their children. Time goes faster when you’re having fun.
  1. Try to improve your performance from the day before. The little things don’t bother you as much when you’re striving to be better.
  1. Make an effort to leave work at work. A manager I knew always clapped her hands when she walked out the door at the end of a shift. It was her way of physically moving from work to personal life mode.
  1. Keep smiling. Giving smiles brings them back in return — or maybe people think you’re a little crazy, which may be true on some days and can be fun too.
  1. Skip the busy food court and bring something special for lunch or dinner. Plan meals for the entire week.
  1. Never be so busy that you don’t take a moment to know your customer a bit better or do something a little extra special for him/her.  It will increase your average sale, and that will improve your attitude.
  1. Keep conversations with your co-workers positive and upbeat.
  1. Ask to take five minutes off the floor when you get that crazy and overwhelmed feeling. Even better, suggest a five-minute breather to a co-worker who clearly needs it.
  1. Watch for overwhelmed customers. To a customer who needs something in particular and doesn’t know where to find it, your busy store can look like pure chaos.
  1. Focus on the spirit of the holiday. Throw some money into the red bucket. Watch the kids visiting Santa. Step outside and watch the shoppers.
  1. Go above and beyond for every customer. (Get it? #11!) Karma is a wonderful thing, and holiday karma is the best.


  • For the staff: 25 Tips to a stress-free, enjoyable and productive holiday – Retail Contrarian

Discussion questions: Which of the tips listed in the article would you most emphasize if you were managing retail workers during the holidays? Which are most important for creating better experiences for holiday-stressed customers?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
"Imagine that every customer you serve is a family member or close friend that you want to have a really great holiday."

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8 Comments on "Ten tips to a stress-free, enjoyable and productive holiday"

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Shep Hyken

All of these are great tips, yet if I had to pick just one I’d go with number two — to improve performance from the day before. In other words, be better today than yesterday … every day! And that’s a great mantra to have throughout the entire year, not just during the holidays. Happy holidays to everyone, and may today be better than yesterday — and next year better than this year!

Mark Ryski

Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows just how challenging it can be during the holidays. Doug created an excellent list and his number one tip is the same as mine: have fun. Whatever you can do to keep the store team engaged and having fun will not only make the day go faster, but it will create positive energy that all shoppers will feel. One action I would add to the list: thank your store team members throughout the day for their extra effort. Appreciation goes a long way, especially during the holiday selling season.

Lyle Bunn (Ph.D. Hon)

Number 10 on the list gets my vote. There is a reason for the Christmas season and gift-giving recognizes the tradition of the gifts — gold, oil and spice provided to a child long ago. Giving more fully rewards the giver and is its own joy.

Jasmine Glasheen
Jasmine Glasheen
Content Marketing Manager, Surefront
6 years 2 months ago
I’ve seen number six in action when I had the opportunity to work across from two seasoned Estée Lauder beauty advisors who understood the value of taking an extra moment to speak with or thank their customers. These beauty advisors had been in the business since Boston Store was Gimbels and the way they did their job made me nostalgic for a time in retail I’d never experienced. These beauty advisors found fulfillment from their (sometimes lifelong) relationship to their customers. They considered remembering their customers’ names and making personal connections to be part of the job. Sometimes a customer may have had to wait a moment for them to finish up with one of their clients, but once customers realized the level of service they were standing in line for, a few moments wait ceased to be an issue. These cosmetics associates had the best sales numbers I’ve ever seen! Holiday-stressed customers want to be recognized as human beings. When sales associates take time to ask the right questions and develop personal connections with… Read more »
Ben Ball

Imagine that every customer you serve is a family member or close friend that you want to have a really great holiday. Sure, there will be surly customers that make this practically impossible — but just think of how those surly relatives calm down when you treat them with a little respect and understanding. It doesn’t always work. But you never feel bad about yourself for trying.

Patricia Vekich Waldron
Patricia Vekich Waldron
Contributing Editor, RetailWire; Founder and CEO, Vision First
6 years 2 months ago

I agree, Ben! It’s an extension of the Golden Rule. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

Ralph Jacobson

Great tips. Bottom line, have your staff walk in the “shadow of the leader.” Set the tone in your store. When the lines get long, get out on the sales floor and talk to customers waiting and cheer them up with some free samples, coupons, etc. Be super cheerful and your staff will follow your lead.

Ryan Mathews

I see Prozac didn’t make the list. Hmmm … well … given the way shoppers behave during the holidays, if you can’t be tranquilized I’d recommend listening to Ben Ball and thinking of the screaming, ill tempered masses as members of your family … assuming you all voted the same way this month.

"Imagine that every customer you serve is a family member or close friend that you want to have a really great holiday."

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